There is very little evidence that particular foods have an impact on people with ankylosing spondylitis. The best diet is a healthy, balanced diet. This can help you reach or maintain a healthy weight and may reduce the strain on your lower back, hips, legs and feet and reduce your risk of other health problems.

Please note: Some of the pages you will be linked to use the term 'arthritis'. Arthritis is sometimes used as a generic term for musculoskeletal conditions.
 

  • Is there a diet to cure arthritis?

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    No diet has been proven by research to cure arthritis. Be very cautious of special diets or supplements that claim to cure arthritis. The best diet for arthritis is a healthy, balanced one to maintain your general health and prevent other medical problems.

  • Do certain foods cause arthritis?

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    There is very little proof that specific foods have an effect on arthritis. The exception to this is gout. Arthritis symptoms usually vary day to day. This makes it hard to know if a change in symptoms is because of a particular change in food or just coincidence. Some people with arthritis report improvements after avoiding certain foods. However this is usually due to individual food intolerances.

  • I heard I should avoid...

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    Nightshade foods. This food group includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and capsicum. There is no proof that these foods have any effect on arthritis symptoms. It is possible that this diet works for some people by removing a food to which they are intolerant.

    Acid-producing foods. Arthritis is not caused by eating 'acidic foods' like oranges, lemons or tomatoes. Very few foods are as acidic as our digestive juices. Foods termed 'acidic' are usually very rich in vitamin C, which is beneficial to the immune system. So avoiding these may do more harm than good.

    Dairy products. There is no proof that dairy products cause arthritis. Dairy products are a rich source of calcium, which is an important building block for strong bones. Many people with arthritis are at an increased risk of osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) so dairy products may be extra important to maintain bone health. If you have difficulties with dairy products, talk to your doctor about other high calcium foods or calcium supplements.

    Meat and meat products. There is mixed evidence about the effects of vegetarian diets on arthritis. These diets tend to increase your intake of vitamins as you eat more vegetables and fruits. Lower levels of fat in this diet may also help you to lose weight.  These factors may help with arthritis symptoms. However a strict vegetarian diet may mean you miss out on other important nutrients, such as iron and vitamin B12.

  • Food intolerance

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    Some people may have a reaction, such as an upset stomach, after eating or drinking certain foods. This may be due to a food intolerance. If you feel that certain foods are causing problems, talk to a dietitian or your doctor. They may suggest you be tested for food intolerances. Do not cut whole food groups from your diet without talking to your doctor as you may miss out on important vitamins and minerals.

  • Can certain foods help arthritis?

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    Although most foods have no effect on arthritis, studies show that eating foods rich in omega-3 fats can help reduce inflammation, particularly in rheumatoid arthritis. While these effects are modest compared to medicines, omega-3 fats do not have serious side effects. They also have other health benefits, such as reduced risk of heart disease.

     

  • Food rich in omega 3 fats

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    Foods rich in omega-3 fats:

    • fish: oily fish, such as sardines and salmon, have greater amounts of omega-3 fats. Try to eat fish at least two to three times a week.
    • fish oil supplements: see the Fish oils page for more information 
    • ground linseeds and linseed oil (also called flaxseed)
    • canola oil (also called rapeseed oil)
    • walnuts.

  • Does weight affect arthritis?

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    The simple answer is yes. Extra body weight increases the stress on many joints, particularly the knees, hips and lower back. There is also a clear link between being overweight and an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. If you are overweight, losing weight will decrease the stress on your joints, reduce pain and make it easier for you to move around.

  • A guide to healthy eating

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    The best diet for arthritis is a healthy, balanced diet. This can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of other health problems. Talk to your doctor or see the Australian Government's Dietary Guidelines for all Australians information to learn about general healthy eating guidelines. You may also find it helpful to see a dietitian for advice that is tailored to your individual needs.

  • For more information

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    Do you want to find out more about living with ankylosing spondylitis? Check out our library catalogue to see what items are available.

    Need medical information regarding your condition and commonly prescribed treatments? Or assistance navigating the health, disability and social services systems? Contact our nurses on the Rheumatology Help Line on 1800 263 265.

    Want to speak to someone who has a chronic musculoskeletal condition, and can understand what you are going through? Do you need some general information on ankylosing spondylitis and ways you can manage it? Contact our Telephone Information Service on 1800 011 041. 

    Copyright and References

There is no diet that can cure ankylosing spondylitis. A healthy, balanced diet is best.

Page created on 22 June 2012 - Content updated on 27 November 2012